The EU and South Korea have announced plans to work together on developing 5G technology, hoping that the future mobile service will help connect the emerging Internet of Things.
The Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and 5G, signed in Seoul, will see the EU and South Korea work together towards a global definition of 5G, which is hoped will provide ‘Fibre-like’ speeds.
It’s hoped that as well as providing enough bandwidth for owners of the iPhone 11S and the HTC One (M13) to download HD movies in seconds, 5G will allow connected home services to communicate with smart grids, smart cars and eHealth services.
Whether or not 5G technology delivers on these lofty promises, the EU and South Korea will work on harmonising radio spectrum and setting global standards for 5G. This should see 5G devices working virtually anywhere in the world, making it easier for travellers and cheaper for manufacturers ship 5G goods to overseas markets.
European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said: “5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and Korea recognise this.
“This is the first time ever that public authorities have joined together in this way, with the support of private industry, to push forward the process of standardisation. Today’s declaration signals the our commitment to being global digital leaders.”
Tweeting from Samsung’s innovation centre in Seoul, Kroes said that she’d witnessed download speeds of 314Mbps on a mobile phone – a cut above what most people can get from 4G services in the UK.
Trials of so-called 5G technology by Samsung have seen . While this appears to make good on the ‘fibre-like’ claim – FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines can easily transmit gigabit speeds – such frequencies aren’t likley to be used for mobile technology.
Ofcom wants the lower 700MHz band to be used for future mobile services, while the University of Surrey’s 5GIC research is looking at how 5G could be delivered.
Discoveries made by 5GIC could be shared across the EU and South Korea and help define the shape 5G takes. Samsung is one of the many sponsors of 5GIC, along with EE, O2, Vodafone and UK telco regulator Ofcom.
Ofcom isn’t keen on the UK being left behind the rest of the world as was the case with 4G and it wants a 5G spectrum auction by 2018, to avoid a predicted capacity crunch.
News of the agreement comes as Cisco announces a prediction that global annual internet traffic would grow to reach 1.6 Zettabytes (more than one and a half trillion gigabytes) by 2018, a three-fold increase over the next five years.
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